Shoftim

Download PDF

Isaiah 51:12-52:12

In this fourth of the seven haftarot of consolation (Aramaic: שבע דנחמתא), God addresses the Jewish people directly, as well as Jerusalem. He speaks of redemption from multiple angles. As the creator of the world, God has the power to redeem His people. Therefore His people have nothing to fear from their earthly oppressors from whom He will free them. God also speaks of the sins that led to the exile but promises that it is coming to an end, permanently. God will personally return to Zion, accompanying His people home.

Haftarah Breakdown

Verses 51:12-16: God created the world, and therefore can redeem his people.

Isaiah 51:16

And I placed My words into your mouth, and with the shadow of My hand, I covered you; I, who planted the skies and made firm the earth say to Zion [that] you are My people.

וָאָשִׂ֤ים דְּבָרַי֙ בְּפִ֔יךָ וּבְצֵ֥ל יָדִ֖י כִּסִּיתִ֑יךָ לִנְטֹ֤עַ שָׁמַ֙יִם֙ וְלִיסֹ֣ד אָ֔רֶץ וְלֵאמֹ֥ר לְצִיּ֖וֹן עַמִּי־אָֽתָּה׃

Verses 51:17-21: Although they have physical oppressors, truly God has afflicted Jerusalem and the Jewish people due to their sins...

Isaiah 51:17

Awaken, awaken, arise, Jerusalem, for you have drunk from the hand of the Lord the cup of His wrath; the dregs of the cup of weakness you have drained.

הִתְעוֹרְרִ֣י הִֽתְעוֹרְרִ֗י ק֚וּמִי יְר֣וּשָׁלִַ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר שָׁתִ֛ית מִיַּ֥ד ה' אֶת־כּ֣וֹס חֲמָת֑וֹ אֶת־קֻבַּ֜עַת כּ֧וֹס הַתַּרְעֵלָ֛ה שָׁתִ֖ית מָצִֽית׃

Verses 51:22-23 … but He will redeem them, and ensure they will never suffer again. Rather, their enemies will suffer.

Isaiah 51:22

So said your Master, the Lord, and your God Who shall judge His people, "Behold, I took from you the cup of weakness; the dregs of the cup of My wrath-you shall no longer continue to drink it.

כֹּֽה־אָמַ֞ר אֲדֹנַ֣יִךְ ה' וֵאלֹקיִךְ֙ יָרִ֣יב עַמּ֔וֹ הִנֵּ֥ה לָקַ֛חְתִּי מִיָּדֵ֖ךְ אֶת־כּ֣וֹס הַתַּרְעֵלָ֑ה אֶת־קֻבַּ֙עַת֙ כּ֣וֹס חֲמָתִ֔י לֹא־תוֹסִ֥יפִי לִשְׁתּוֹתָ֖הּ עֽוֹד׃

Verses 52:1-6: God will release the bondage of Israel and Jerusalem, for his glory.

Isaiah 52:2

Shake yourselves from the dust, arise, sit down, O Jerusalem; free yourself of the bands of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.

הִתְנַעֲרִ֧י מֵעָפָ֛ר ק֥וּמִי שְּׁבִ֖י יְרֽוּשָׁלִָ֑ם התפתחו [הִֽתְפַּתְּחִי֙] מוֹסְרֵ֣י צַוָּארֵ֔ךְ שְׁבִיָּ֖ה בַּת־צִיּֽוֹן

Verses 52:7-10: God himself will come back to Jerusalem, His reputation restored...

Isaiah 52:9

Burst out in song, sing together, O ruins of Jerusalem, for the Lord has consoled his people; He has redeemed Jerusalem.

פִּצְח֤וּ רַנְּנוּ֙ יַחְדָּ֔ו חָרְב֖וֹת יְרוּשָׁלִָ֑ם כִּֽי־נִחַ֤ם ה' עַמּ֔וֹ גָּאַ֖ל יְרוּשָׁלִָֽם׃

Verses 52:11-12: … and lead the Jewish people back with Him.

Isaiah 52:12

For not with haste shall you go forth and not in a flurry of flight shall you go, for the Lord goes before you, and your rear guard is the God of Israel.

כִּ֣י לֹ֤א בְחִפָּזוֹן֙ תֵּצֵ֔אוּ וּבִמְנוּסָ֖ה לֹ֣א תֵלֵכ֑וּן כִּֽי־הֹלֵ֤ךְ לִפְנֵיכֶם֙ ה' וּמְאַסִּפְכֶ֖ם אֱלֹקי יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

Important Themes

Permanent Redemption: God promises Jerusalem and the Jewish people that they will not merely be comforted and redeemed, but that this redemption will be permanent. They need not fear exile any longer. See verses 51:12,14,17-23 and 52:1-2, 6-10

Other Connections

The Haftarah is the source of multiple stanzas of “Lekha Dodi”, the famed poem that introduces Shabbat. For example, 52:1 (below) and 52:2 (above), are the basis of the 5th stanza of the poem:

Isaiah 52:1

Awaken, awaken, put on your strength, O Zion; put on the garments of your beauty, Jerusalem the Holy City, for no longer shall the uncircumcised or the unclean continue to enter you.

עוּרִ֥י עוּרִ֛י לִבְשִׁ֥י עֻזֵּ֖ךְ צִיּ֑וֹן לִבְשִׁ֣י ׀ בִּגְדֵ֣י תִפְאַרְתֵּ֗ךְ יְרוּשָׁלִַ֙ם֙ עִ֣יר הַקֹּ֔דֶשׁ כִּ֣י לֹ֥א יוֹסִ֛יף יָבֹא־בָ֥ךְ ע֖וֹד עָרֵ֥ל וְטָמֵֽא׃

Lekha Dodi 5

Shake yourself free, rise from the dust/Dress in your garments of splendor, my people/By the hand of Jesse’s son of Bethlehem/Redemption draws near to my soul.

הִתְנַעֲרִי מֵעָפָר קוּמִי/לִבְשִׁי בִּגְדֵי תִּפְאַרְתֵּךְ עַמִּי/עַל יַד בֶּן יִשַׁי בֵּית הַלַּחְמִי/קָרְבָה אֶל נַפְשִׁי גְאָלָהּ

The sixth stanza is also based in 52:1, as well as 51:17 (above)[1].

Lekha Dodi 6

Awaken yourselves! Awaken yourselves!/For your light has come! Get up, my light!/Awaken! Awaken! Utter a song!/The glory of the Lord is revealed upon you

הִתְעוֹרְרִי הִתְעוֹרְרִי/כִּי בָא אורֵךְ קוּמִי אוֹרִי/עוּרִי עוּרִי שִׁיר דַּבֵּרִי/כְּבוֹד ה' עָלַיִךְ נִגְלָּה

With emendations, biblical translations are by Rabbi A. J. Rosenberg and other translations are from Sefaria.org.

To dedicate, comment, or subscribe, email zbeer570@gmail.com.

1. The line “for your light” is based upon the opening verse of the sixth Haftarah of consolation (read two weeks from now, Parashat Ki Tavo), Isaiah 60:1.